SYDNEY: Guus Hiddink emerged as a leading contender to coach Australia yesterday, with the country’s football chief indicating that the Dutchman had been sounded out following the sacking of Holger Osieck.
Osieck’s contract was terminated Saturday just eight months out from the World Cup after the Socceroos were thrashed 6-0 by France in an international friendly in Paris.
Despite guiding them to next year’s flagship tournament in Brazil, the veteran German’s position had been on the line ahead of Friday’s match in Paris after the team was hit for six by Brazil a month ago.
Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop told Fox Sports in France on Saturday that preliminary talks had taken place with Dutchman Hiddink, 66, who steered Australia to their best-ever placing at the World Cup when they reached the second round in Germany in 2006.
“There’s often conversations and it’s fair to say some feelers have been put out. Nothing more than that at this stage,” Gallop said. Gallop said the FFA wanted a new coach appointed in time for Australia’s home friendlies in November. Hiddink, who was at Seoul’s World Cup Stadium on Saturday to watch the friendly between South Korea and Brazil, did not say whether he was interested in a Socceroos return.
His agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen, indicated that Hiddink will not make a decision until the end of this month.
“Guus is on a vacation and I will not discuss his future plans with him until towards the end of October,” van Nieuwenhuizen said in comments published on the ABC News website.
“Guus will certainly listen to what they say, and his memories of his previous association with Australia are only good.
Osieck, who replaced Dutchman Pim Verbeek as national coach in August 2010, had 23 wins, 10 draws and 11 defeats in his 44 matches in charge. AFP